For snooker fans the wait was finally over. The first event of the World Snooker calendar landed in Bendigo, a regional town just outside of Melbourne, Australia.
The line-up for the 2015 Australian Goldfields Open looked good, with many of the top 16 ranked players making the trip to Australia. These included Stuart Bingham (current World Champion,) Mark Selby (world number one, and 2014 World Champion,) Neil Robertson (world number three, and 2010 World Champion,) Shaun Murphy (2005 World Champion,) Judd Trump (2014 Goldfield’s winner,) and John Higgins (four time World Champion.)
Australian fans were really hoping Neil Robertson — the Melbourne Machine — would be able to win his home tournament after being runner up on two occasions. Things weren’t looking good though when he found himself down 4-0.
Australian snooker fans’ hearts were in their mouths!
And then the Melbourne Machine started to play better and managed to fight back to level the match 4-4. However, in the deciding frame, Robertson had a chance to win but played a poor shot and lost position on the final blue. Selt went on to win the match 5-4.
Other first round upsets included Stuart Bingham (who won the event when it was first held in 2011.) He was winning 4-2 and seemed to be sure of progressing, but Irishman Fergal O’Brien won three frames in a row to win 5-4. Marco Fu was beaten 5-4 by Martin Gould, and Shaun Murphy also lost 5-4 to Allister Carter.
The upsets continued, with Mark Selby beaten 5-4 by Jamie Jones in round two and Judd Trump beaten 5-1 by Stephen Maguire in the quarter finals.
The semi finals had two very different matches.
Martin Gould had little trouble beating Stephen Maguire 6-1. Maguire had issues with his cue tip and was given time to fix it by the match referee, but was never really in the match.
The other semi final appeared to be another one sided match, with Jamie Jones taking a 4-0 lead with breaks of 78, 51, and 96. However, John Higgins showed his true class with breaks of 134, 89, 133 and 92 — and won the match 6-4.
The final was between John Higgins, who was going for his 27th ranking title, and Martin Gould who was trying to win his first ranking title.
The crowd were treated to a high quality match which either player could have won, as it was all tied up at four frames all, seven frames all, and eight frames all.
In the tense deciding frame, Gould had his chance to win but broke down and Higgins cleared up to win the $75,000 prize, with a break of 89.
The highest break of the tournament was a 142 by Ricky Walden.
The next event on the snooker calendar is the Riga Open ET1 in Latvia.
Past winners of the Goldfield’s Open:
2014: Judd Trump
2013: Marco Fu
2012: Barry Hawkins
2011: Stuart Bingham
About the Author: I have a passion for all things snooker and English billiards. When I am not playing, I enjoy watching great players and famous matches. I also collect vintage snooker and billiards memorabilia and cues. My favourite players are Walter Lindrum, Stephen Hendry, Jimmy White, Judd Trump and Neil Robertson. Photo: Flickr/Lucasz Lech Editor: Hannah Blue